‘Friends of the Palestinians should oppose this application’ – Ghada Karmi on the UN statehood bid

Ghada Karmi

Writing in the Guardian, Ghada Karmi, author of Married to Another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine, argues against the Palestinian application for statehood at the United Nations. She starts by recognising some positive gains that could be made from the bid:

Admitting “Palestine” as a full member state would undoubtedly provide some advantages. Statehood would change the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem from occupied territories to an occupied state, which could then request international help to end the occupation, as happened with Kuwait in 1990. Israel’s borders would be defined by law for the first time since the 1949 armistice and its expansion potentially halted.

However, given US determination to use its veto in the security council to prevent Palestine gaining full UN membership, it will not happen. But, with a two-thirds majority vote in the general assembly for Palestinian statehood almost assured, the Palestinians would be upgraded to non-member observer state status, like the Vatican. That would admit them to membership of several UN bodies hitherto barred, and could enable them to pursue cases against Israel at the international criminal court.

However, she argues that ultimately the bid is the product of a failed strategy, too narrowly focussed to achieve real justice and too timid to force meaningful change in the face of US and Israeli opposition:

The Arab revolution sweeping the region should have been an object lesson for Palestinians. The new Arab revolutionaries have not fought just to attain a few of their rights; they have demanded a totally new order. Israel’s growing global isolation and enfeeblement should have been another spur to Palestinian action. Rather than seizing this unprecedented historic opportunity, the Palestinian leadership has pulled out the stops for a minimal political arrangement, ignoring the rights of refugees and legitimising Israel’s 1948 occupation of almost 80% of the original Palestine, including its post-1967 illegal settlements under cover of the “land swap” device. This misreading of the zeitgeist was a massive blunder and an inexcusable failure of leadership.

The vigorous campaign to enlist world support for this pathetic arrangement, as if it were the acme of Palestinian ambition, should have been fought instead for basic Palestinian rights. If limited statehood had been an interim stage in a longer-term strategy to attain those rights, it could have been acceptable.

As things stand, the danger is that international endorsement of the current statehood proposal will make it the benchmark for all future peace negotiators, and entrench the idea that partitioning Palestine unequally means justice. True friends of the Palestinians should oppose this application and support their struggle for real justice.

Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.

Married to Another Man

Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine

Ghada Karmi

Celebrated author Ghada Karmi argues that the only practical solution to the conflict is for Palestinians and Israelis to live together in a secular democratic state

“Ghada Karmi’s storytelling eloquence is celebrated. Now the sheer power and sense of her analysis throws down a challenge to those who claim the ‘problem’ of Israel and Palestine cannot be solved. She shows it can.” – John Pilger

“Ghada Karmi’s storytelling eloquence is celebrated. Now the sheer power and sense of her analysis throws down a challenge to those who claim the ‘problem’ of Israel and Palestine cannot be solved. She shows it can.” – John Pilger

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

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